Dry Shake Hardeners: Why They Are the Best Choice for Concria Slab Installation

Dry shake hardeners are a top choice for Concria slab installations and are known for their durability and performance. They make concrete floors stronger, denser, and more attractive. Applied during finishing, they ensure a durable finish.

They work well with Concria polished concrete, making them suitable for retail and industrial applications.

What are Dry Shake Hardeners?

Dry shakes are mixes of cement, aggregates, admixtures, and additives. They may include pigments for colour or remain natural. Dry shake hardeners create hard, durable surfaces on concrete that are monolithic with the slab, which protects the concrete floor and improves its durability.

They need free water on fresh concrete to work well. This moisture helps mix the dry shake with the concrete. Adding a dry shake starts a reaction that improves surface durability and wear resistance.

Benefits of Dry Shakes Hardeners for Concrete Floors

Benefits of Dry Shakes Hardeners for Concrete Floors

Dry shake hardeners for the surface of the concrete floors offer long-term benefits for flooring projects:

Time

A dry shake is added to a fresh concrete surface, finishing the surface in one step during construction. This method saves time. The floor surface finishes with the concrete slab in 8 to 12 hours. The surface is walkable in 24 hours and ready for light use in 3 to 7 days.

Economy

Dry shake floors are cheap and efficient. Low initial and labour costs make them great for tight budgets. Their long life cuts maintenance costs and downtime.

Durability

Dry shake hardeners provide a rigid surface that withstands construction damage. It also makes the floor less porous, so it better resists oil, grease, and chemicals. Durable concrete floors need less maintenance and repair, which saves money and reduces downtime.

Concrete floors with dry shake topping are cost-effective and perform well in Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) due to their long life.

Aesthetics

Aesthetics in industrial buildings are now more critical for worker morale and corporate image. Dry-shake surface hardeners improve performance and add colour, including light shades like yellow and white.

They make floors light-reflective, enhancing workspace brightness and work efficiency and cutting lighting costs. Their aesthetic value has boosted their use in public buildings and private homes.

Safety

Floors must be safe for all types of work, including in wet, dry, and dirty conditions. Most slips and falls happen because of floor contaminants. To prevent this, floors need safe traction and regular cleaning.

Using dry shake hardeners can make concrete floors less slippery, creating a safer space for everyone. Picking the right texture and size of hardeners can lower accident risks. Adding these safety features to the floor and cleaning helps prevent slips and falls.

Sustainability

Dry shake applications are durable, look good, and are eco-friendly and safe. They have low VOC levels, which are suitable for fire and health safety, which is essential in today’s market. They are easy and cheap to maintain with regular cleaning machines, and sealers can make them even more dustproof. This makes them sustainable for modern construction projects.

Classification of Dry Shake Floor Hardeners

Dry shakes are divided into three primary groups according to the type of aggregate that they contain:

  • Natural quartz aggregate
  • Synthetic (non-metallic) mineral aggregates
  • Metallic and metallic alloy aggregates

Abrasion Resistance and Toughness

Abrasion Resistance

Abrasion resistance is how well a surface can withstand wear from rubbing, rolling, sliding, and cutting. It varies with different objects like truck tyres and foot traffic. The resistance depends on the material’s composition and installation.

Hardness and toughness come from the material’s hardness and mix. The Moh Scale measures mineral hardness, with diamonds at ten (highest) and talc at one (lowest). This helps determine if a floor can handle daily wear and specific industrial needs.

EN 13892 Test Methods

EN 13892-4 in Europe describes the standard method for testing abrasion resistance. The BCA test involves using steel wheels under a specific load for several cycles to measure wear depth. Floors are then rated from AR0,5 to AR6, with AR2 being the minimum for industrial floors and warehousing.

The Böhme test, another method, presses the screed surface against a rotating steel plate with abrasive sand between them.

ASTM C779 / C779M Test Method

The ASTM C779 / C779M Standard Test Method measures how well horizontal concrete surfaces resist abrasion. It includes three tests, each using a unique type of abrasive force. These tests help identify how mix proportions, finishing, and surface treatments impact concrete surface durability.

Toughness

Heavy industrial traffic and operations cause more than wear. Impacts, temperature changes, compression, and vibrations add strain. Floor life depends on its toughness and ability to handle stress.

Toughness is measured by energy absorption before breaking. The material’s compressive and flexural strength show floor toughness and help compare dry shake hardeners.

Dry Shake Hardener Application Methods and Rates

Dry shake hardeners are sprinkled onto a freshly placed concrete by hand or machine. Hand application happens after the concrete starts to set. Machine application is made right after the concrete is placed before it sets.

Depending on the dry shake’s density, the final layer should be 2 to 3 mm thick. The floor’s use and the type of dry shake determine how much to apply. Different areas can have various application rates.

Machine application works best for applying 5 kg/m2 and isn’t suitable for lower rates because the aggregate might sink. Hand application typically uses 4 to 5 kg/m2, but up to 7 kg/m2 can be used if conditions allow. Higher rates by hand should be done in two steps.

Typical Application Rates per End Use

END USE APPLICATION RATE
Foot Traffic 3 kg/m2 or low water cement ratio concrete
Light Forklift Traffic / Abrasion 3 kg/m2
Medium Forklift Traffic / Abrasion 5 kg/m2
Heavy Forklift Traffic / Abrasion 5 – 7 kg/m2

NOTES: Hardeners with pigment are recommended to be applied at a minimum rate of 6 kg/m2. Concrete may require water adjustments for higher application rates.

Concrete Hardener Basic Design Considerations

Some conditions and concrete mixes with a low water-to-cement (w/c) ratio can be challenging, especially at medium and high application rates. It’s essential to plan for this. The w/c ratio of the concrete mix should be at least 0.50 to ensure enough water for the hardener to work well.

Interior floor concrete mixes should not have air added on purpose and need more than 3% naturally trapped air. Dry shake hardeners are not the best for ultra flat floors because their application and finishing make meeting the required floor tolerances challenging.

FAQs

Where is concrete floor hardener used?

Concrete floor hardener is used in places needing strong, durable floors like industrial sites, warehouses, and busy buildings. It’s great for areas with heavy machines, forklifts, and many people walking around. It makes floors harder, looks better for longer, and reduces dust.

Can you paint over the concrete hardener?

Yes, you can paint over concrete hardener. Clean the concrete and remove contaminants for good paint adhesion. Use a concrete primer for better durability. Follow the paint manufacturer’s instructions for the best results.

What helps concrete set faster?

To make concrete set faster, use accelerators. They reduce setting time, which is ideal for quick builds and cold weather. Accelerators speed up cement hydration, helping concrete set and gain strength faster.

Choose an accelerator that matches your concrete mix. Keep the right temperature and moisture when curing for a quick set. But take your time curing, as it can weaken the concrete.

Is dry shake hardener waterproof?

A dry shake hardener makes concrete floors denser and more durable, reducing water penetration. However, it only makes the concrete partially waterproof. Use extra treatments like sealants or membranes on top of the hardener for complete waterproofing.

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